Senate Vote this Thursday!

Ring the Capitol!

Register for Day of Action in
Concord this Thursday!

We’re calling on all repeal supporters to come to Concord and Ring the Capitol for the Senate debate and floor vote on the death penalty repeal bill (HB 1170).

We’ll start by meeting at 8:30AM on the State House lawn to form a human ring around the State House to demonstrate our unity of conscience for ending this inhumane punishment. We will have candles to light (wind permitting) or hold to visually demonstrate the sentiment expressed by Dr Martin Luther King over 40 years ago: that “darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”

Click for info and to register
***DAY OF ACTION TO SHOW THE NH SENATE THAT NH CAN LIVE WITHOUT THE DEATH PENALTY!***
We’re calling on all repeal supporters to come to Concord and Ring the Capitol for the Senate debate and floor vote on the death penalty repeal bill (HB 1170).We’ll start by meeting at 8:30AM on the State House lawn to form a human ring around the State House to demonstrate our unity of conscience for ending this inhumane punishment. We will have candles to light (wind permitting) or hold to visually demonstrate the sentiment expressed by Dr Martin Luther King over 40 years ago: that “darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”Once the session begins at 10AM, we’ll move to the Senate Chambers in the State House. The Senate will be discussing a number of bills before ours, but we anticipate HB1170 will be taken up before they break for lunch.If you can drive others from your area to the event — or if you need a ride — please call or email us (contact info below).For early arrivers, we’ll have coffee and snacks at 8AM at our 4 Park St office.See you there!
April 17th, 2014 8:30 AM   through   3:00 PM
NH State House
107 N. Main St
Senate Chambers
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-230-2335
Email: info@nodeathpenaltynh.org

4/3/14 Senate Hearing News

Photos from the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on HB1170 – April 3, 2014

Click to reveal news on Senate Hearing
Click on titles to read full articles.

Ex-New Hampshire chief judge: Repeal death penalty

SFGate
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The former chief justice of New Hampshire’s Supreme Court urged senators Thursday to repeal the state’s death penalty, saying New Hampshire is better than countries like North Korea and Iraq that embrace capital punishment

Firm opposition to death penalty at hearing

CONCORD – By LYNNE TUOHY, The Associated Press – The former chief justice of New Hampshire’s Supreme Court urged senators Thursday to repeal the state’s death penalty, saying New Hampshire is better than countries like North Korea and Iraq that embrace capital punishment.

Senate committee tackles death penalty repeal

Boston.com
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Fathers of at least two murder victims will be among those testifying in favor of repealing New Hampshire’s death penalty. The House passed the repeal measure 225-104 last month. Lawmakers predict a close vote in the …

Death Penalty Repeal Bill Inches Ahead in New Hampshire

Patch.com
New Hampshire has not executed anyone since 1939, before World War II even began, but the death penalty is at the nucleus of the political debate today at the Statehouse. For Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, the subject has been timeless since 1988, …

Hearing on death penalty repeal today

The Union Leader
“The death penalty does nothing for public safety, fails the families of murder victims, costs far more than the alternatives and conflicts with the moral teachings of our society’s major religious traditions,” said Barbara Keshen, NH Coalition to Abolish the Death …

Senate committee holds hearing on death penalty repeal

WMUR Manchester
NEW HAMPSHIRE WOULD COME TO THE FINAL CONCLUSION THAT IT CAN LIVE WITHOUT THE DEATH PENALTY COME AT THAT IT WOULD RESPOND TO THE HIS STORE CALL TO HAVE A STATE THAT IS GROUNDED IN CULTURE OF RESPECT .
Click here for photos from the crossover week vigils in March

House Votes Decisively to Repeal the Death Penalty!

How did your Representative vote? Check here. If they voted for repeal, please thank them today! Full news on Repeal Vote here.

More news on House Criminal Justice Committee proceedings here.

Click here to Watch full video of floor debate
Jump to section.  This video contains the follow time markers. When you click on any link, it will take you to YouTube. Once there, below the video, click on “show more.” Now you will be able to access any section randomly.

(0:00:13) HB1170 announced
(0:00:43) Rep. K. Murphy offers Floor Amendment 14-0205h to expand death penalty
(0:11:49) Rep. K. Murphy yields to question from Rep. DeSimone
(0:12:34) Rep. Cebrowski speaks in opposition to FLAM 14-0205h
(0:18:27) Rep. Gagnon speaks in opposition to FLAM 14-0205h
(0:23:54) Rep. Wallner speaks in opposition to FLAM 14-0205h
(0:27:47) Rep. Warden speaks in opposition to FLAM 14-0205h
(0:30:03) Rep. Levesque speaks in opposition to FLAM 14-0205h
(0:37:25) Rep. Baldasaro speaks in support of FLAM 14-0205h
(0:40:12) Rep. Baldasaro yields to a question from Rep. Copeland
(0:41:13) Rep. Baldasaro yields to a question from Rep. Dumaine
(0:42:11) Rep. Baldasaro yields to a question from Rep. O’Flaherty
(0:43:40) Rep. Rowe speaks in opposition to FLAM 14-0205h
(0:48:05) Rep. Cushing speaks in opposition to FLAM 14-0205h
(0:58:00) Rep. Cebrowski requests roll call on FLAM 14-0205h
(0:59:36) Rep. Sapareto recognized for a parliamentary inquiry
(1:00:38) Rep. Cushing recognized for a parliamentary inquiry
(1:00:57) Roll call vote to Adopt FLAM 14-0205h – FAILS [YEA 83, NAY 247] (1:02:13) Rep. Vaillancourt offers Floor Amendment 14-0916h to change death sentences to LWOP
(1:22:42) Rep. Vaillancourt yields to a question from Rep. Burt
(1:24:38) Rep. Vaillancourt yields to a question from Rep. Sapareto
(1:25:38) Rep. Vaillancourt yields to a question from Rep. Cali-Pitts
(1:26:55) Rep. Vaillancourt yields to a question from Rep. Heffron
(1:27:42) Rep. Harriott-Gathright speaks in opposition to FLAM 14-0916h
(1:31:08) Rep. Baldasaro requests roll call on FLAM 14-0916h
(1:32:38) Rep. Vaillancourt recognized for parliamentary inquiry
(1:33:17) Rep. Cushing recognized for parliamentary inquiry
(1:33:45) Roll call vote to Adopt FLAM 14-0916h – FAILS [YEA 85, NAY 245] (1:34:57) Rep. Notter speaks in opposition to Ought To Pass on HB1170
(1:42:58) Rep. Peterson speaks in opposition to Ought To Pass on HB1170
(1:43:58) Rep. Mangiputi speaks in support of Ought To Pass on HB1170
(1:47:44) Rep. Cushing requests roll call on Ought To Pass on HB1170
(1:50:03) Rep. Jasper recognized for a parliamentary inquiry
(1:51:24) Rep. Cushing recognized for a parliamentary inquiry
(1:52:33) Roll call vote on Ought To Pass on HB1170 – PASSES [YEA 225, NAY 104]

New Hampshire Nears Repeal of Death Penalty

HB1170VoteBoard_3.12.14 300bNY Times
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
MARCH 12, 2014
CONCORD, N.H. — ….On Wednesday, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly, 225 to 104, to repeal the death penalty. The fate of the bill in the state’s Senate is less certain, but many give it a strong chance of passage. And the new governor, Maggie Hassan, is prepared to sign it, a change from 2000, when a repeal bill last made it to the governor’s desk, where it was vetoed.

Read more

If New Hampshire abolishes the death penalty, it would become the 19th state to do so. Before 2007, no state had abolished it since the 1960s. But six states — Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York — have abolished it in the last six years.

Death penalty opponents say the momentum is on their side, with New Hampshire the latest example; the House vote Wednesday was the most lopsided ever for repeal, and it was strongly bipartisan. New Hampshire is the last state in New England to have the death penalty, though it has not executed anyone since 1939.

“New Hampshire is not acting in a vacuum,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. While polls show that a majority of Americans still support the death penalty, that support is at its lowest level in 40 years.

Read full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/13/us/new-hampshire-nears-repeal-of-death-penalty.html?_r=0

Read more House Vote news coverage here.

Death Penalty Issues at a Glance

THE DEATH PENALTY KILLS THE INNOCENT - OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM IS FLAWED
More than 140 individuals have been freed from death row since 1973 because they were proven to be innocent. Problems have run the gamut from cooked and withheld evidence to coerced confessions and self-serving snitches. Public lawyers often have little experience and cannot be expected to give the best defense. Even if we execute someone we are sure is guilty, keeping the death penalty guarantees that innocent people, including those with impaired mental capacity – even though it is unconstitutional – will continue to be killed. Human biases and mistakes are unavoidable, but an execution is one mistake that can never be taken back. More…
THE DEATH PENALTY IS UNFAIR - IT IS BIASED AGAINST THE POOR AND MINORITIES
Justice is supposed to be blind, but the application of the death penalty in the US is anything but. If you are wealthy, you can afford the best lawyers and are likely to get a lesser sentence, even for murder. If you cannot afford a lawyer or are a member of a racial minority, you are more likely to get the death penalty for the same crime. Where you live also plays a big role in whether a person gets the death penalty: the majority of death penalty cases since 1976 have come from just 2% of US counties — with 85% of US counties executing no one during that entire time. This is the very definition of unequal treatment under the law and for this, together with the charge of cruel and unusual punishment and the failure of due process, the death penalty should be considered unconstitutional. More…
THE DEATH PENALTY COSTS UP TO 5 TIMES MORE THAN LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE
Because of the much higher standards of evidence and due process that capital cases require, the costs for prosecuting and public defending in a death penalty trial are far higher than cases involving first degree murder and a maximum sentence of life without parole — even when you count the cost of imprisonment. Death penalty trials takes longer, require more jurors to be interviewed, higher security costs more, and that’s all before years and years of appeals at the state and finally the federal level. In the case of Michael Addison, currently the only death row inmate in our state, NH taxpayers have already spent over 5 million dollars. As a comparison, 40 years in prison costs $1.4 million. Money not spent on the death penalty could go to programs like victim counseling, crime prevention and substance abuse treatment. More…
THE DEATH PENALTY DOES NOT DETER CRIME OR ADVANCE PUBLIC SAFETY
Dozens of studies – including a meta-study by the National Research Council — have concluded that the evidence does not support the claim that the death penalty deters violent crime. People who kill in the heat of passion or to satisfy a drug craving certainly are unlikely to stop first to think about consequences. Even those who meticulously plan out their crimes never believe they will get caught. The simple truth is, the death penalty does not make us safer. When the deterrence argument fall away, what are we left with as a reason for maintaining the death penalty? Some people like to quote the Bible and its “eye for an eye” justification but the original code was meant to limit retribution. As understandable as our pain is over the horror of murder, we cannot allow our ultimate decisions to be governed by a need for retribution.  A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings. The US is the only western industrialized nation to engage in this punishment. More…
THE DEATH PENALTY DOES NOT MEET THE NEEDS OF MURDER VICTIM FAMILIES
While some murder victim family members support the death penalty as payment for the murderer’s crime, many do not. Those who have had to live through years of appeals (13 years, on average) often find that the ordeal continues to dredge up the pain and misery of the original loss. And even when the death penalty has been carried out, many family members have also found that it offered no final sense of relief or healing. Moreover, the extraordinary sums spent on trials and years of appeals could be better put to use for victim services such as grief counseling, legal advocacy and burial costs, for or solving cold cases. In NH, there are over 120 outstanding unsolved murders. Don’t these families deserve justice too? More…
THE DEATH PENALTY CAUSES MORE TRAUMA TO EVERYONE INVOLVED
When as a society we respond to the act of murder with a state-sanctioned ritual execution, we are only perpetuating the trauma that every killing causes to our psyches and souls. In particular, those who are forced to carry out these executions — prison wardens, guards, doctors, nurses -– have found that taking part in these unspeakable acts haunts them for years. Some have even committed suicide as a result. The families of those who are executed suffer again as well. They have done nothing wrong, but as parents, spouses, children and extended family they have to live not only with the shame, but with the pain of losing of a person they loved and cared about. Killing those who kill to show that killing is wrong offers no hope of rehabilitation, restoration, or redemption. It only prolongs the cycle of violence and prevents us from imagining more humane possibilities. More…

About the Bill

HB 1170 is a bi-partisan bill for repealing the death penalty in NH. Details:

  • HB 1170 eliminates the death penalty from all state statutes.
  • Those crimes which currently can be classified as “capital murder” will still be classified as “first degree murder,” the mandatory penalty for which is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • It does not affect anyone currently on death row in NH.

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Read the text of the bill and view list of co-sponsors on our HB 1170 page.

Conservative Voices

A Richard Viguerie number of conservatives and libertarians have been voicing their opposition to the death penalty, citing it as a costly, inefficient and unjust government-run program. Among them are: Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com; Ron Paul, former US House of Representatives; Charles Krauthammer, conservative columnist; Ken Starr, former US Solicitor General; and many others.
———————————————————————– Download the US Constitution Project’s “Statements from Unlikely Allies on the Death Penalty.” (More resources here.)

Updated! NH Activist in Texas Pt. 2
GarzaSince I wrote “Fighting for Life, From Texas Death Row,” much has happened to the inmate I was working with, Robert Will, and myself. Following my successful efforts to find him experienced pro bono lawyers who worked with his Texas court-appointed attorney, Rob’s case was remanded from the federal courts to the Texas state court.  This is significant as in Texas, as once you have reached the federal level, there is nowhere to go but to the Supreme Court for relief.  Surprisingly, in February 2014, the Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Rob based on both actual innocence… More…